A right royal picnic: tips to turn a wedding invitation into a feast

A right royal picnic: tips to turn a wedding invitation into a feast

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Go for foods that travel well: crusty rolls rather than floppy sandwiches, cheese and robust pork pies. Photograph: Getty Images

The news that the 1,200 members of the public whose good deeds have secured them an invitation to the royal wedding will have to bring their own picnicsshould come as a relief to those worthy folk. After all, as the American gastronome James Beard put it, if the rain holds off picnics are “one of the supreme pleasures of outdoor life”. Everything tastes better seasoned with fresh air.

The best picnics may be casual, but there are a few simple rules for success and, as usual, they mostly involve planning. This is not the time to do a smash and grab at M&S Windsor – you’ll inevitably end up with too much mismatched food that you’ll just have to lug home afterwards. Instead, choose a centrepiece, such as a pie, ham or cheese, and work from there: contrary to popular belief, not all such occasions require a sharing bag of crisps and a dip selection.

Think practically: go for foods that travel well. Crusty rolls rather than floppy sandwiches, robust pork pies instead of flimsy quiches, and coleslaw or potato salad in place of delicate leaves prone to wilting in transit.

Soft fruits such as strawberries always feel like a good idea but bruise easily and then bleed all over the rug; I would go for naturally packaged citrus fruit instead, though you might prefer to make like the happy couple and have it in cake form (a lemon drizzle is easy to carry).

Favour foods that sit happily out of the fridge: washed rind cheeses such as Brie improve as they warm up, while harder cheeses begin to sweat. You’re also better off ditching the butter in favour of mayonnaise or cream cheese.

Cured and smoked meats and fish are more suited to sitting around in the sunshine than poached salmon or roast chicken, and baked goods are a wiser option than creamy puddings or boxes of chocolates.

Remember the unglamorous stuff too. No one ever regretted making room for rubbish and recycling bags alongside the chilled fizz and plastic flutes, and you can never have too many wet wipes at a picnic.

Finally, bear in mind that at the last such bash, guests were served “finger food”. Compared with that, even a packet of Pringles will feel like a banquet.